Israel Moving to Biometric Passport

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Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit and Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On have agreed on the new biometric passport, which will be printed in the coming year.

While Israel is aware of the ease in which one can forge the current passport [and teudat zehut identity card], the process of upgrading has lagged. What has compelled the move forward is the notification by the United States and the European Union that the current passports will not be honored after 2010, due to increased world security concerns. (Interior Ministry officials are also indicating new teudat zehut cards are soon to be issued as well, also due to security concerns. The current laminated cards are too easily forged).

The new passport will cost NIS 175, the same as the current one, and adults will only have to renew it every ten years.

An applicant will have to appear in an Interior Ministry office to be photographed by the special camera which records information such as facial bone structure, distance between one’s eyes, ears to eyes and ratio of facial features one from another. One will also be fingerprinted and all this information will be contained in the new high-tech electronic passport.

At the airport, travelers will be scanned and the image compared to the passport, making it virtually impossible to forge officials report. They add it will be almost impossible to replace the passport’s photo; a relatively easy process with today’s outdated passports.

Interestingly, the new passport does not report to address the issue of reconstructive surgery. One can assume that a person undergoing cosmetic or non-elective constructive surgery would have to have a new passport photo recorded.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)